A Kiwi family has lost a second loved one to Covid-19.

Nigel Te Hiko has died in Waikato Hospital, nearly two weeks after his brother Alan died in Auckland from the virus.

Nigel, 54, is believed to have contracted Covid from Alan, who had worked at the Americold facility in Auckland.

He is the 25th New Zealander to die of Covid-19.

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Nigel was a respected historian and negotiator at the Raukawa Settlement Trust, which represents the south Waikato iwi's interests.

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He is now the youngest person in New Zealand to die from Covid-19.

Nigel lived in Tokoroa and his brother visited before Auckland's August lockdown.

On August 14 it was revealed that two people in Tokoroa had been infected with Covid. Health officials said the cases were linked to the new Auckland cluster.

The Te Hiko whānau, from Tokoroa, is now planning another funeral not a week after they buried Alan last Thursday.

Te Hiko was one of seven siblings and is survived by his whāngai daughter Gwen and 12-year-old moko Mahina-ā-rangi.

Cousin Phyllis Tahere said Te Hiko was dad to all his nephew and nieces and koro to all his moko.

"Nigel was definitely a leader in the whānau. He rallied whānau together. One call from him and everybody would flock to him. He was a father figure to all our nephews and nieces; he was the one they would turn to when they needed advice. He held the family together.

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"Some of our whanau, our young ones, are hard to manage, and Nigel did that too when required. He would be tough when he needed to.

"It was because of his big heart, and his immense love. The door at our whānau homestead was always open, no matter what time day or night. The door and Nigel's heart was always open."

Nigel Te Hiko was a respected historian and negotiator at the Raukawa Settlement Trust. Photo / Supplied
Nigel Te Hiko was a respected historian and negotiator at the Raukawa Settlement Trust. Photo / Supplied

Te Hiko worked for more than 20 years for his people, first at the then Raukawa Māori Trust Board, which would become the Raukawa Settlement trust.

He had a background in social work but developed his skills and expertise as a researcher and historian.

Raukawa Chair Vanessa Eparaima said he was a Pou of support for her and the iwi.

"For Nigel, it is impossible not to acknowledge his immense skill and invaluable support for so many – how exceptional he was.

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"Nigel was a Raukawa historian whose love for knowledge and passion for accumulating and increasing his and his tribe's shared history and mātauranga leaves a lasting legacy."

"He was an incredibly humble man, he did not crave the limelight, and was an immense pou of support often in the background, supporting leaders with whaikōrero when required, history and advice, and with the ammunition of research and knowledge which was crucial to the conclusion of the Raukawa Treaty settlement negotiations."

Over the last few years he had been burdened with declining health which slowed but did not stop him.

"He has left immense shoes to fill for the iwi, but we are so grateful he has left so many words and writings, which will feed the minds and hearts of many of this generation and of those many who are to come."

Bloomfield said Te Hiko's family had a message for New Zealanders:

"The man's whānau has asked us to tell the country that coronavirus is so real and to be vigilant and cautious," Bloomfield said.

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"They have issued a plea to all New Zealanders: if you are sick and have symptoms stay home and seek advice about getting a test," he said.

Bloomfield said the man's death highlighted the seriousness of Covid-19 and said his thoughts were with Te Hiko's family.

"Ngāti Raukawa has lost a rangatira. They mourn the loss of their loved one.

"I can't imagine how devastating this is for this whānau."

South Waikato deputy mayor and Tokoroa councillor Bill Machen said Te Hiko was a "fine member of the community".

"I had a lot of time for him. He was a gentleman and a fine fellow."

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As a historian he did, from time to time, update the district council on the history of the district, he said.

Alan died in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital on September 4.

He was a team leader at the Mt Wellington coolstore, and had worked alongside the index case of what was initially labelled the South Auckland cluster.

Michael Tonga worked under Alan Te Hiko and described his boss as a "natural born leader" who was always the hardest worker in the room but who also enjoyed rugby league banter - particularly about his favourite team, the Warriors.

"Words cannot express the honour and love we felt being invited to speak at the service and also to carry our leader [and] brother to his resting place," he wrote on Facebook.

Three deaths are now related to the Auckland August cluster - after Pacific health leader and Auckland GP Dr Joe Williams died on the same day as Alan Te Hiko. He too, had been in ICU for several weeks.

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